Save Yourselves! (2020) Some Time and Maybe Check Out Something Else
Title: Save Yourselves!
First Wide Release: October 2nd, 2020 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson
Writer: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Starring: Sunita Mani, John Reynolds, Ben Sinclair
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
A young, hip, liberal couple (Sunita Mani, John Reynolds) from New York City take a trip to an upstate New York cabin to detox from social media and technology. There, they begin to reacquaint themselves with each other and try to use their time wisely. Eventually they find out that aliens have invaded the Earth right as they entered their self-imposed isolation, and now they must work together to figure out how to survive. With minimal supplies and the constant threat of an enclosing alien menace, lovingly referred to as “poofs”, the couple decides to trek out into the wilds. But will this be enough for them to save themselves?
Shallow and unfunny, Save Yourselves! is a throwback without any of the fun or sentiment necessary to imitate the golden age of sci-fi.
Save Yourselves! is a boring watch, which I attribute to a listless script and meh characters. It’s clear that directors Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson both attempt to play up the humor one can find in small situations or settings. Unfortunately, not much really happens in the film to make the journey worth it. Despite its 90-minute runtime, it stretches for much longer than it should due to some initial pacing issues in the first act. Then, it falls into a familiar beat before ending on an admittedly interesting note.
It’s easy to tell when the directors expect you to laugh, almost like the film inhales, preparing for the big moment. Only, despite these prescribed moments of intensity, nothing really happens. The dialogue gets a bit cringy and falls short for me. It might just be that this brand of comedy isn’t for me, and that is alright. There are, however, several bright spots in the film.
Both Mani and Reynolds are solid actors with a great understanding of their characters. Adept in both comedic timing and body language, the duo brings Su and Jack to life through their mannerisms and neuroticism. While I didn’t grow to love Su and Jack, I did find them endearing in a certain way, even if they aren’t particularly interesting or relatable.
By the time Save Yourselves! ends Fischer and Wilson’s message is clear. It is necessary to take action and responsibility for yourself. Su and Jack’s transformation from being paralyzed by their own inaction and anxiety towards life ends with them taking radical chances on not only improving their own lives but others. This collides with the idea of disconnecting oneself from technology, even if it initially hurts the couple’s odds at survival. One of the film’s best scenes takes place in a literal bubble where the couple, after finally receiving messages and news updates, scream in frustration at their powerlessness. It’s a very genius moment in an otherwise ordinary film.
Working on a minimalist budget, the team does a great job of utilizing its resources appropriately. Sporting solid cinematography and visual effects work, Save Yourselves! offers competent visuals outside of a few elevated moments later in the film, particularly during its final five minutes. The creatures themselves have little personality but make up for it with their lifelike appearance and deviation from typical representation of alien. They aren’t scary or threatening, but I will give the team credit for making them unique!
Folks who enjoy buddy horror comedies will likely enjoy Save Yourselves! and I am comfortable saying that this film is not one that is made for me. The jokes fall flat, the action is tame, and the stakes never feel high. Aside from its finale, Save Yourselves! doesn’t really do much to dispel feelings of boredom or restlessness. Reader, I ask that you think long and hard about how you would like to spend your time. If you don’t want to see your time wasted, I beg of you to save yourself and watch something more entertaining.
Overall Score? 5/10